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Cuban Spiced Heirloom Bean Soup with Mint Crema

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Makes 6 (1-cup) servings.

Heirloom beans come from seeds handed down through the generations without any genetic modification. They are available in farmers' markets, organic food stores and online specialty stores in eye-catching shapes, colors and amusing names.

Ingredients

  1 lb single variety or mixture of dried heirloom beans, such as Anasazi, Calypso, Black Valentine or Cannellini

  2 Tbs olive oil

  1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion

  1 1/2 cups finely chopped green bell pepper

  1/2 lb chorizo sausage, crumbled or finely chopped

  4 tsp McCormick® Gourmet Collection Oregano Leaves, Mexican

  1 Tbs McCormick® Gourmet Collection Cumin, Ground

  1 tsp McCormick® Gourmet Collection Garlic Powder

  2 McCormick® Gourmet Collection Turkish Bay Leaves

  4 cups chicken broth

  2 Tbs white vinegar

  1/2 cup cubed avocado

  1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

   Mint Crema (recipe follows)

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Directions

Bring 6 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Add beans; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 1 hour. Drain beans, reserving 3 cups of the cooking liquid.

Heat oil in 5-quart Dutch oven or saucepot on medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and chorizo; cook and stir 7 minutes or until vegetables soften. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add oregano, cumin, garlic powder and bay leaves; cook and stir 1 minute or until fragrant.

Stir in chicken broth, drained beans and reserved 3 cups cooking liquid. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 3 hours or until beans are tender and soup has thickened, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. (If mixture gets too thick and beans are not covered by liquid, add water to cover.) Stir in vinegar. Season with salt, if desired.

To serve soup, ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with avocado, red onion and a drizzle of Mint Crema (recipe follows).